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View From The Hill: US talks tough on trade with EU

AN open letter co-signed by 53 US agriculture and food organisations was sent to US trade representative Robert Lighthizer concerning the EU decision to exclude agriculture in future trade negotiations with the US, writes John Wilkes.

Some of those who signed the letter include The National Pork Producers Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Farm Bureau.

 

Nick Giordano, vice-president and counsel for global government affairs on the National Pork Producers Council, independently voiced his industry’s frustration.

 

He said: “Brussels is miscalculating both the intention of this administration and the mood of the American public.”

 

He said Americans felt the EU lacked will for equality on trade with the US. Mr Giordano reiterated the Trump administration trade focus – ‘reciprocity’.

 

The agriculture coalition letter calls for any future US/EU trade deal to facilitate ‘an agreement that eliminates tariffs and quotas and removes all non-science based regulatory barriers’ for US produce.

 

The letter said: “This is not because European consumers do not want American products.

 

“It is because EU tariffs and non-science based regulations deny consumers a choice.”

 

Mr Giordano added: “We are talking about a rich block of nations that is persisting with protectionism. Bureaucrats in Brussels and throughout the EU are mouthing the mythology of the NGOs that US food is not safe and wholesome.”


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Mr Giordano said EU recalcitrance was ‘elitist mumbo jumbo’ and ‘technology and competitiveness has given a broad swath of humankind a nice existence’.

 

On notice

 

Timing of the US open letter is to put the EU Commission on notice.

 

US demands are in advance of a directive from all 27 EU member states about the nature of future EU/US trade talks scheduled this month. The mandate states without inclusion of agriculture within ‘parameters for EU positions in talks’, it ‘preordains failure of the negotiations before they begin’.

 

Mr Giordano said the people most likely to suffer, should EU’s precautionary principles not be addressed, are the ‘poorest and most vulnerable in society’.

 

He added: “It is an outrage to us in the US that our food products are disparaged by the elitists in the EU and people are buying this garbage lock stock and barrel.

 

“Stiffing the US on trade is a bad idea and stiffing the US on agriculture is a bad idea. The Europeans are not making friends over here.”

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